“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The thing about plans—some of us have one; some of us don’t. God has a plan for everyone, but it’s up to us whether or not we will see that plan through. Further, the plan you have for yourself may not look the same as the plan God has for you.
I’m a planner; it’s a part of my nature. The irony though is this: though I’ve always had my little black book, I never have been one to make “set in stone” long term plans for my life. I guess you could say short term planning is more my thing—I’m a list maker, an appointment setter, a schedule-r. Long term plans—marriage, children, relocation, career path—I have accepted the fact that maybe I don’t know what is ultimately going to be the best thing for me, and I’m ok with that. I have learned over the years to simply put one foot in front of the other and let my faith rest in God for everything else. It’s not that I can’t have dreams, goals, aspirations, and yes, even plans for my long term future. A wise person, though, a person who truly wants what God has for them must learn to not hold too tightly to any particular thing and be at peace with where God leads you. After all, God can see the bigger picture. He knows what we can handle and what we cannot; He knows what would make us happiest when all is said and done and what would drive us away from Him. Furthermore, how disappointing would it be to have your heart and soul set on something, only to realize it wasn’t meant to be? Attaching to a specific future, and putting your hope in that instead of God will ultimately lead to pain, disappointment, and suffering. If we make our plans our god, we have then replaced the true and living God! True joy, true peace comes in surrendering to God’s plan and letting go of your own.
When you think of your ideal life, what does that look like? For me, it’s a life filled to the brim with love, peace, joy, gratitude, self acceptance. A life spent doing what I love to do, financial stability, and a relationship with God that grows stronger each day—these are things that I know I want for my life, and I know God wants them for my life as well. How that looks—what geographical location I’m in or if I am “doing life with” someone or not isn’t really what’s important.
I love this photo. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but it’s also absolutely imperfect. If you look closely, you’ll notice a broken rail on the white picket fence. To me, that symbolizes that nothing is perfect, not even the white picket fence! People have this idea of the “American dream” and believe it to be the perfect life. The truth is, though, nothing is perfect. No life is perfect. Everyone under the sun has struggles, though they don’t all look the same.
As I made my way past this beautiful house with all the colorful flowers and the white picket fence, I stood there for a minute and just took it all in. That’s when inspiration struck, and I took a photo. I felt the joy of the Lord so strongly at that moment, and I realized, it’s through this joy that I get to live out my very own version of “the white picket fence”.
I want everything God has for me. My biggest fear isn’t ending up alone or not having what everyone else considers to be good and perfect. No, my biggest fear is getting to Heaven and God showing me the the life He intended for me to have, the life I could have had, had I not been too busy chasing my own idea or the world’s idea of how my life should look.
Enjoying my existence and living for today in a state of surrender to God’s will, discovering the plans He has for my life one day at a time— that’s my dream, my idea of perfection, my white picket fence. What’s yours?